Coding Blocks Podcast
Clean Code - Formatting Matters

For the full show notes visit:
http://www.codingblocks.net/episode50

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[yop_poll id="26"]

Formatting

  • If your code is a mess, then people will assume that your attention to detail in how the app was coded is also a mess - perception
  • Teams should adopt formatting rules and follow them
  • Automated tools help with the process
  • “Code formatting is important”
  • Code formatting has a direct affect on maintainability and extensibility of code over time

Vertical Formatting

  • Try to keep max length around 500 lines long and smaller is better - FitNesse app is in this range
  • Tomcat and Ant - several thousand lines long and at least half are over 200
  • Newspaper metaphor - read it vertically - headlines at the top detail increases as we go down the page
  • Separate concepts with blank lines
  • Closely associated code should be grouped together so it’s dense
  • Concepts (methods) that are closely related should be grouped as closely together as possible to keep from hunting through files
  • Variable declarations should be as close to their usage as possible
  • If the methods are short, then the variable declarations should be at the top of the function!
  • Control variables for loop should be defined within the loop
  • Instance variables should be declared at the top of a class
  • When one function calls another, those should be close vertically in the file
  • Conceptual affinity - when methods do similar things or are named similarly, they should also appear close to each other
  • Vertical ordering of methods - the caller should be first, then the callee, and that method’s callee, etc…on down the page

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Horizontal Formatting

  • How wide should a line be?!
  • In the popular projects examined, it appeared that 40% of lines were between 20 and 60 characters
  • Another 30% of lines were less than 10 characters…
  • Author suggests that beyond 100-120 is careless
  • Put spaces on both sides of an assignment operator (equals sign)
  • Don’t put spaces between the function name and the parens
  • DO put spaces after individual arguments / parameters in a list - shows they are separate
  • Also use spacing to indicate the precedence of operations - think of spacing in math equations with several parentheses - author calls it out for order of precedence, I actually don’t like this one - I prefer grouping with parens
  • Lining up variable declarations, names, types - found that it was distracting to the “story” of the code….I agree
  • Hierarchically lining up code based on it’s scope - super important
  • Author would sometimes condense multiple lines into one (like a get; set;) eventually set it back for readability (breaking indentation)
  • What about for PRINT statements in SQL???
    while statements - indent the semicolon on the next line…otherwise they’re hidden
  • Follow the team’s formatting rules…don’t go vigilante
  • He threw in Uncle Bob’s formatting rules

Resources we Like

Clean Code
Clean Code

Tip of the Week

Direct download: coding-blocks-episode-050.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:59pm EST

This week, Michael fails geography, Allen introduces us to Croom, and Joe has to potty as we head into our third installment of the Clean Code series.

Direct download: coding-blocks-episode-49.mp3
Category:Software Development -- posted at: 8:04pm EST

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